National Centre for Resilience launched at Crichton Campus by Environment Minister
Scotland's new National Centre for Resilience (NCR) has been officially launched by the Environment Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod, at the University's Crichton Campus in Dumfries.
The NCR, which will have its core staffing presence on the Crichton Campus, is set to become a "centre for excellence" focusing on natural hazards, said Dr McLeod.
It will work to enhance Scotland's resilience and the steps that can be taken to ensure that local communities are fully and adequately prepared for natural hazards such as flooding and landslides.
Speaking at the launch in Dumfries, Dr McLeod said: "Frequent severe weather, like we have witnessed this winter with the likes of Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, can disrupt the lives of individuals and communities. Preparing society to help with adaptation measures is key if the impact of climate change on communities - particularly those most vulnerable - is to be reduced.
"The National Centre for Resilience will be Scotland's first resilience 'centre of excellence' focusing on natural hazards and how Scotland can become more resilient towards them. It will help improve our understanding of the impact of natural hazards, such as extreme weather events on communities, and provide support to them including practical tools kits, learning and exercise opportunities. The centre will be a national resource helping with, anticipating, and reducing problems from developing in the first place and, where they do emerge, enabling individuals and communities to recover quickly.
"It's important to bear in the mind that the centre is not a response facility, but a knowledge and research hub, operating on a network basis facilitating the sharing of best practice and developing resources and capacity available locally, but also reaching out to a number of institutions and organisations across Scotland and beyond."
Vice-Principal Professor Anne Anderson said: "The University of Glasgow is delighted to be taking a role in the NCR. Our Dumfries campus is all about partnership-working and the Resilience Centre is a wonderful example of partnering with policy-makers, other academic institutions and the responder community which will benefit all of Scotland."
The Scottish Government, which is funding the centre, has worked in collaboration with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Met Office, Dumfries and Galloway Council, ClimateXExchange, the University and other partners to make the NCR a reality.
Dr Andy Kerr, Chair of the NCR Research and Training Working Group, said the centre's work would have three strands: before serious events - to help deliver improved forecasting; during events - to help deliver more targeted responses to communities; and longer-term - to build social resilience against the economic, psychological and social impacts on communities hit by major natural hazard events.
Alan Motion, Head of Strategic Engagement at the Met Office, said: "The Centre provides a platform for us to work with existing and new partners across Scotland. It will enable partners and stakeholders to share knowledge and skills whilst building wider relationships to help develop a better understanding of the impacts of natural hazards on the day to day activities of people across Scotland. The work within the NCR will help inform, improve and develop key outputs, including our work with SEPA in the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service and our support to Transport Scotland in keeping Scotland moving."
David Faichney, from SEPA's Flood Unit, said: "The centre recognises the increasingly important role that community resilience will play in understanding, preparing for, and reacting to severe weather events in Scotland. This is a positive step towards co-ordinating a wide range of quality information, knowledge and understanding across many agencies and partnerships who work to keep Scotland running during adverse events."
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First published: 22 March 2016